My Take on Superstition

In this small write-up I will be presupposing parts of a worldview that most analytic types will probably find questionable. I will not be attempting to justify these presuppositions, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. I am, after all, a genius.

This was my answer to the question, “Do you believe in superstition?”, on the late

I don’t believe that “step on a crack, break your mother’s back” and things like that are true because we live in some kind of Harry Potter universe where words and actions have their own inherent magical meanings, but I believe that whatever superstition you believe in has power just because you believe it. And I don’t mean that in the physicalist/rationalized way where it affects your psychology which in turn affects how you physically interact with the world which in turn affects the consequences you reap—I mean it has this power directly.

I also think that we can have subconscious beliefs about the significance of things or subconscious reactions to certain things or situations that we have easy way of controlling and that can have an effect on what happens just as much as a conscious belief, so certain “superstitious” things can appear to us to be true independently of our attitude toward them, and therefore it could be (relatively) prudent (for plebs at least) to consider those superstitions as if they were objectively true as if in some Harry-Potter-universe sense.

An example would be how walking under a ladder is considered bad luck. Well, if you walk under a ladder, you feel like you’re just tempting fate; you analytically feel as though it should be safe because what are the chances that the something will happen right while you’re under it, but emotionally you feel otherwise, and that can manifest in negative consequences.

Or perhaps it’s not even solely about personal belief in that case. Maybe, because the universe is actually one large mesh of interacting entities with minds and therefore behaves largely according to psychological principles, the powers that be interpret your walking under the ladder as being cavalier and daring, even though to your mind it’s just rational and efficient, and that causes the consequences of doing something cavalier and daring. This, of course, opens up a whole new arena of consideration w.r.t. the meaning of or metaphysics behind the possible legitimacy of superstitions as such.

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